Special Equestrians

If you like horses, the outdoors, and helping people, we have the perfect opportunity for you. Please join the force of over 250 volunteers that assist with Special Equestrians. Special Equestrians is a therapeutic horseback riding program for people with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.  All levels of experience are available (no horse experience necessary), must be 14 years or older; just attend one of our Volunteer Training sessions on  Tuesday, June 18th  4pm-6pm, Thursday, June 20th  5pm-7pm OR Saturday, June 22nd from 10am-noon. Training sessions will take place at our facility on the campus of Indian Springs School.  To reserve a spot at the training session or to find out more information, please email: volunteer@specialequest.org, call: 205-987-9462 or visit our website www.specialequest.org .

Common Application Nuts and Bolts


The Common Application has 488 participating colleges and is a great way to apply to multiple schools using one application.  Visit www.commonapp.org to see the list of member universities and read more about it. The application for next year’s seniors will be available August 1. In the meantime, get familiar with the site and look at this year’s application to get an idea of what you will be filling out. Be sure to check out the School Forms section and remember you will have to “invite” your teachers and counselors to complete their parts.  Next year’s essay (250-650 words) topics, of which you will choose one,  are already available and listed below: 

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.
  • How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? 
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Let me know, kleaver@shelbyed.k12.al.us, if you have any questions about using this great tool if it works for colleges on your list.




Visiting Colleges

It is a must to visit colleges you are interested in.   You can call and arrange a visit using the contact information below. As well as listening to the admissions chat and taking a tour, feel free to ask to meet with certain departments you are interested in, meet with Honors program delegates, are a great way to visit a college and see, hear & experience many things while on campus.

Auburn University: http://www.auburn.edu/visit or800-AUBURN9

Auburn University Montgomery:  www.aum.edu or 800-227-2649

Birmingham Southern Collegewww.bsc.edu or 800-523-5793

Jacksonville State University : www.jsu.edu or 800-231-5291

Judson College:   www.judson.edu or 800-447-9472

Mississippi College:  www.mc.edu or 800-738-1236

Mississippi State Univeristy:  www.msstate.edu

Mississippi University for Women :  www.muw.edu

Samford: www.samford.edu/admission

Springhill College:  www.shc.edu or 800-742-6704

Stillman College:  www.TigertownAlabama.com.

Troy University:  www.troy.edu

Tuskegee University: www.tuskegee.edu or 800-622-6531

University of Alabama:  www.gobama.ua.edu/visits or 800-933-BAMA

UABwww.uab.edu or  205-934-9098.

UAHuntsville: http://uah.edu/ or 800-UAH-CALL

University of Mobile:  www.umobile.edu  or 251-675-5990

University of Montevallo:  http://www.go.montevallo.edu or  205-665-6030.

University of North Alabama:  www.una.edu/

University of South Alabama: http://www.southalabama.edu/studentrecruitment/ or 800-USA-JAGS

University of West Alabama:  www.uwa.edu or 800-621-8044

Why AP?

Many high school students have decided to challenge themselves by signing up for Advanced Placement classes. These are college level classes and will phenomenally prepare a student for the rigor of college coursework. For information about the benefits and expectations of  the Advanced Placement program, please visit http://www.shelbyed.k12.al.us/studentresources/GRC/homepage.html where you will find an Advanced Placement category. There you can watch a power point about the AP program and see a list of the AP courses taught collectively in our Shelby County high schools (not all courses are taught at all high schools) and the dates for the AP exams next May, 2014.

College Ahead at the University of Montevallo

The University of Montevallo’s College Ahead program is a way for high school juniors and seniors to take college courses on campus while they are still attending high school during the summer or during the school year. Summer Session I begins May 29th and Summer Session II begins July 2nd.  A student must have a 3.0 GPA to be eligible and may take any class that is available that doesn’t have a prerequisite. The cost per credit hour is currently $293 plus fees. Identified gifted students in our Shelby County schools receive a scholarship to take one class tuition-free.  If you are taking AP classes, it may be worth choosing other college classes because if you earn the appropriate scores on AP tests to receive college credit, you would get no additional credit for taking the same classes at UM. For more information and to get the application visit http://www.montevallo.edu/CollegeAhead or click on the link under Blogrolls. Check with individual high school counselors for their deadline.


Samford hosting M. D. Calling Workshop


So you feel called to be a medical doctor. M.D. Calling is a medical career workshop which will be held at Samford University June 23-26, 2013. What should you study in college?  How will you choose a medical school? What are the future trends in medical practice? How do doctors serve in medical missions and other humanitarian projects? Get answers to your questions at M.D. Calling, a three-day residential workshop for rising high school juniors and seniors at one of the region’s most respected universities. The workshop features premedicine advising, expert panels, networking, field trips and activities. Cost is $350 (includes tuition, meals, residence and activities). For more information, go to www. howard.samford.edu/md-calling  or email hcas@samford.edu.


Take Advantage of What Birmingham Has to Offer

When you are looking for enriching  experiences, don’t forget about the Magic City! We are so fortunate to live in a city with so much to offer that can enrich our lives. Visit http://www.shelbyed.k12.al.us/studentresources/GRC/GEOAT.pdf or click on  Great Enrichment Opportunities  Around Birmingham under Blogrolls. for a listing of places with relevant information. Step out of your comfort zone and take advantage of some of these opportunities, many of which are free! Enjoy a summer filled with wonderful experiences!

Think About a Summer Enrichment Camp!

Many colleges and universities offer exceptional enrichment opportunities on their campuses. Some can be quite pricey, but many are very reasonably priced. Check out the Summer Enrichment Camp link under Blogroll or click here  http://www.shelbyed.k12.al.us/studentresources/GRC/Enriching_May2012.pdf. High Schoolers can attend camps that focus on topics from the arts to familiar academic subjects to foreign languages, philanthropy, architecture, writing, engineering and fisheries. Most are residential camps; there are all different schedules, price ranges and there are scholarships available for some.

REAL Cents REAL Change Summer Camp at Auburn

REAL: Recognize Me! Empower Me! Appreciate Me! My Legacy!
Want to feel confident about how to manage money at any stage of your life? Want to empower yourself while helping others? Want to leverage your natural talents, skills, and treasures to benefit others? Want to learn how to create a lasting legacy? Let’s get REAL! AND make positive things happen! The REAL Cents REAL Change℠ Summer Camp is a week-long residential camp produced by the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies and College of Human Sciences that empowers teens (ages 13-18) through education, leadership and philanthropy. Throughout REAL Cents REAL Change℠ Summer Camp, teen participants will learn the basic skills of financial management and how to maximize their philanthropic impact. Participants will experience campus-life while residing in Auburn’s resident dormitories, eating at campus dining facilities, and enjoying evening social and recreational activities. Camp participants will have 24/7 counselor supervision. Tuition is $549 and covers all instruction, housing, meals, and recreational activities. For more information and to register, visit www.auburn.edu/realcentsrealchange.


ACT/SAT Testing

Juniors need to register to take the ACT and/or SAT testing if you have not already begun the testing process. All but a handful of colleges in the U.S. will take either one. It is highly recommended that you test more than once, and I would advise you to take them both once. PLAN and PSAT scores can help predict which one you may perform better on. To compare your scores & see which may be a better instrument for you, look for the ACT/SAT Comparison Chart under my blogrolls. Seniors may continue testing but should investigate when the last test date to be considered for admission and/or scholarships is. To register for either test, you must upload a clear picture of yourself. ACT Photo is a free app to make this step really easy. Make sure you adhere to the registration deadlines so you don’t waste money and you have a better chance of getting into your desired test site. On test day, remember your registration “ticket,” a photo ID, #2 pencils, calculator, and a watch.

The next ACT is Saturday, June 8th. Late registration has ended. You  may register for the September 21st ACT through August 23rd. Since many colleges require the writing portion of the ACT, make sure you take it “with writing” at least once. Many colleges will pull that writing score even if your best composite is from another test date, but others will only use a writing score and composite score from the same test date – so check!! To register, send scores, and for test taking tips and prep, visit www.act.org. There are also 2 free ACT apps for your college search and ACT test prep.

The next SAT is Saturday, June 1st. Late registration has ended. The next SAT will be given Saturday, Oct. 5th. The writing portion is included in every SAT, so you don’t have to sign up for anything extra. To register, send scores, find out about SAT Subject Test availability, and for test taking tips and prep, visit www.collegeboard.com. You can even sign up for daily questions of the day to be sent to your email.